Lonnie White will have a big decision to make soon. He is committed to playing football and baseball at Penn State. Where he is drafted may be a determining factor as to what he decides to do. The kid can fly and whether it is running a go route for the Nittany Lions in the fall or chasing down fly balls in center field, there is no doubt about White’s talent. Let’s take a look at the Pennsylvania prepster.
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Lonnie White, OF, Malvern Prep (PA)
Weight: 210 lbs.
High School Stats: 100 G – .317/.438/.517, 52/64 BB/K rate, 11 HRs, 51 SBs
White is a physical kid at 6-foot-3 and already over 200 pounds. He obviously has excellent skills at catching the ball as he is ready to make his mark as a receiver in Happy Valley as well as patrol center field for the Nittany Lions. Scouts are torn on if he will hit at the upper levels and some teams may not want to take a chance on him early enough to find out. High School bats are hard to judge because of inflated stats due to sheer physical gifts. I’m not so sure this is the case with White though.
The speed is elite and that should keep him in center field for a long time. Along with an average but accurate arm and very good routes on fly balls, White could be a future Gold Glove winner. The wheels will also make him a danger on the bases, putting pressure on the defense with a strong, aggressive approach. He has the work ethic and physicality to stand up to anything the game throws at him as evidenced by him playing three sports in High School and excelling at them all.
The power is also prodigious as White put up some impressive exit velocity numbers in the Area Code Games last year against solid pitching. When you are 17 years old and can hit a baseball at over 110 mph for a 400+ foot home run, the future power is the stuff of highlights. Getting to the monster blasts in-game though is the question many scouts have. Nevertheless, the raw talent and upside are there, and isn’t that what teams look for in a High School kid?
As mentioned, the hitting part of the game has been more of a physical thing than a mechanics thing. While he does have a compact, straight-to-the-ball swing, it will be his pitch recognition and ability to lay off the junk that will determine his ceiling. Although the hit tool is really White’s only true weakness, it is a major one and because it is so important and kind of a mystery right now, he is a very high-risk, high-reward player.
Pro Comparison: Curtis Granderson
While Granderson is a little smaller than White and is a lefty, I think they could have similar career paths. For a 12-year stretch from 2006-2017, the Grandy Man averaged 26 home runs and 12 stolen bases while batting .252 and playing an excellent defensive center field. As he got older the steals went down and he moved to right. White may be destined for the same type of career. With the skills he has now, it is probably the middle ground for where the Pennsylvania kid winds up.
Draft Projection: First Round or Not Drafted
There may be a few teams who see the potential here but it will likely take a first-round payday to take White away from his commitment to Penn State. I could see a possibility of a team at the bottom half of the first round like the Yankees, White Sox, Twins, or Athletics taking a shot at signing White away from college. It is impossible to predict right now as the young center fielder from Malvern Prep probably doesn’t even know what he will do until his name gets called.
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Main Image Credit: https://www.lookoutlanding.com/2021/5/24/22450190/2021-mlb-draft-scouting-report-lonnie-white-jr